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Cleveland Cavaliers big man Isaiah Hartenstein declines player option, will enter free agency

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Hartenstein turns down $1.7 million to capitalize on a strong finish to his season in Cleveland.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Isaiah Hartenstein will turn down his $1.7 million player option and become a free agent, per sources. Hartenstein, who was traded to Cleveland from the Denver Nuggets for JaVale McGee, averaged 8.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in 16 games with the Cavs.

According to sources, Hartenstein would like to come back to Cleveland. But, it does depend on what the Cavs do this offseason starting with the 2021 NBA Draft. If Cleveland takes Southern California big man Evan Mobley third-overall, Hartenstein is likely no longer a serious part of the team’s plans long term. Mobley will likely start at power forward for the Cavs, but, can soak up backup center minutes behind Jarrett Allen which was Hartenstein’s role last season.

If he does not return to the Cavs, the market could still be robust for the former NBA G-League MVP. Hartenstein capitalized on the opportunity given to him in Cleveland and showcased a unique skill set that could make him appealing to teams throughout the league.